Photophysiology of a mesophotic coral 3 years after transplantation to a shallow environment

Citation:

Or Ben-Zvi, Raz Tamir, Nir Keren, Dan Tchernov, Ilana Berman-Frank, Yuval Kolodny, Tal Benaltabet, Harel Bavli, Mor Friedman, Noga Glanz-Idan, Hadar Traugott, Yossi Loya, and Gal Eyal. 2020. “Photophysiology of a mesophotic coral 3 years after transplantation to a shallow environment.” Coral Reefs, Pp. 1-11. Publisher's Version

Abstract:

With shallow coral reefs suffering from anongoing rapid decline in many regions of the world, theinterest in studies on mesophotic coral ecosystems(30–150 m) is growing rapidly. While most photoaccli-mation responses in corals were documented within theupper 30 m of reefs, in the present study we transplantedfragments of a strictly mesophotic species from the RedSea,Euphyllia paradivisa, from 50 m to 5 m for a periodof 3 years. Following the retrieval of the corals, theirphysiological and photosynthetic properties of the coralswere tested. The transplanted corals presented evidence ofphotosynthetic acclimation to the shallow habitat, lowersensitivity to photoinhibition, and a high survival per-centage, while also demonstrating a reduced ability toutilize low light compared to their mesophotic counter-parts. This long-term successful transplantation from amesophotic depth to a shallow habitat has provided us withinsights regarding the ability of mesophotic corals and theirsymbionts to survive and withstand shallow environments,dominated by a completely different light regime. Theextensive characterization of the photobiology ofE.paradivisa, and its photoacclimation response to a high-light environment also demonstrates the plasticity of coralsand point out to mechanisms different than those reportedpreviously in shallower corals.